Manager, Alan Blair has challenged his players to step up to the plate in the goalscoring stakes having agonisingly watched his side slump to a disappointing defeat to struggling Glebe Rangers at the Riada Stadium on Saturday.
The Drumahoe men appeared to have turned a corner following the previous weekend’s hard earned 2-1 victory over third placed Ards at the Riverside which ended a losing sequence of five games.
However, any luck they may have earned deserted them in Ballymoney as they were made to rue a series of missed chances which ultimately cost them the match.
And stand-in boss, Blair admitted his players may have taken the threat posed by their opponents far too lightly and they were left with ‘egg on their faces’ at the final whistle.
“I’m very disappointed but the players just didn’t turn up on the day,” said Blair. “Maybe they thought that it was going to be easy against the bottom of the league team after last week’s win against Ards but they ended up with egg on their faces.
“Glebe deserved to win, there’s no doubt about that but we still had plenty of chances,” he added. “We could have won 5-3, that’s not an exaggeration, but you don’t deserve to win if you can’t take your chances.”
“Ruairi McClean got injured in the pre-match warm-up but it was more or less the same side that started against Ards last weekend. It’s not helpful to lose your captain but you can’t rely on just one player.
“We talked about the importance of going up to Ballymoney and getting the win which would help us climb the league table and it’s just bitterly disappointing and I told the players that.
“It’s not as if we aren’t creating the chances, I’d say we create in the region of ten chances per game and our delivery into the box from crosses and set-pieces are first class, particularly from Eddie McIntyre but no one takes that chance if getting into the right position.”
Blair felt his side were on the wrong end of a couple of dubious decision by the match official which had a major bearing on the game.
Glebe Rangers striker, Trevor Parkhill opened the scoring for the home side from the penalty spot after the assistant referee adjudged Stute keeper, Alan Ryan to have fouled the Glebe front man inside the area, however, Blair felt it was a harsh decision.
Adding to his frustrations, Eddie McIntrye’s strike was ruled out for offside, denying the Drumahoe men with what he felt was a legitimate equaliser.
Declan Divin struck a cross from the right on the half-volley which was saved by the keeper and fell kindly into the path of McIntyre but the ‘Stute man’s finish was ruled offside much to the frustration of the ‘Stute caretaker boss.
Glebe Rangers striker, Parkhill went on to add his second before centre half Chris Rodgers sealed the win with his side’s third.
“It was frustrating because I didn’t think their first goal should’ve been a penalty,” said the ‘Stute boss. “It was harsh. Their striker was played through on goal and Alan Ryan came off his line but I felt he got two good hands on the ball. The linesman on the far side flagged immediately for a penalty but I felt it was harsh decision, in my eyes.
“We then had a goal disallowed for offside which would have brought us level. We went on to hit the crossbar and the post but they took their chances.
“The most disappointing thing is that all three of their goals could have been prevented. A lot of our younger players must realise they aren’t playing junior football anymore and we’ll need to improve. Having said that, this is a rebuilding year for the club.”
INSTITUTE- Alan Ryan, Wes Ferguson, Tommy Wray, Ryan Browne, Stephen Curry, Connor Lynch, Mark Nicell, Eddie McIntyre, Joe McCready, Declan Divin: Substitute – Adam Clarke, Graeme Taylor, Ryan Semple, Mathew Smith, Connor Mullan.